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New solution developed to evaluate desert carbon sequestration

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-06-09 16:03
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LANZHOU -- Chinese researchers recently proposed a new solution for evaluating desert carbon sequestration, shedding light on the global carbon cycle, according to Lanzhou University.

The study helps assess the contributions made by deserts to the global carbon cycle, said Huang Jianping, leader of the study and professor at the Collaborative Innovation Center for Western Ecological Safety led by Lanzhou University.

Desert carbon sequestration plays an active role in promoting carbon neutralization. However, there was a limited understanding of the effect of hydrothermal interactions and soil properties on desert carbon sequestration after precipitation.

Researchers conducted experiments on sand samples from various sites in hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert, the world's second-largest shifting-sand desert, in China's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

They found that heavy precipitation accelerates the weakening of abiotic carbon sequestration in deserts, particularly in the context of global warming and intensified water cycle.

The study results showed that, the high soil moisture can significantly stimulate sand, which in turn releases carbon dioxide (CO2) at an incredible speed by rapidly increasing microbial activity and organic matter diffusion, said Yang Fan, lead author of the research paper and a doctoral student at Lanzhou University.

Meanwhile, the CO2 flux in the shifting sand was synergistically affected by soil temperature and soil moisture.

The research paper has been published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

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